MIT philosophy: program:
information for visitors

Types of Visitors | Requirements | Useful Information | How to Apply

1. Types of Visitors

1.1 Visiting Scholar

Visiting Scholars are established in their field and possesses a Ph.D. or its equivalent. Visiting Scholars are expected to provide their own funding to support their stay. They are not enrolled in a degree program elsewhere.

1.2 Postdoctoral Fellow

The Postdoctoral Fellow title is used for those who join the MIT community soon after receiving their doctorate. Working under the supervision of MIT faculty members, postdoctoral fellows come to MIT to develop their scholarly competence.

Postdoctoral Fellows receive financial support in the form of a fellowship or stipend, usually from an outside agency, either directly or distributed through MIT on behalf of the sponsor. Typically, fellows are responsible for applying for a fellowship award. Funds for postdoctoral fellowships are provided from a variety of sources, including private donors, foundations, corporations, and government agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Length of stay varies depending on area of interest and individual circumstances. Since the postdoctoral position is not intended to be long-term, MIT limits the postdoctoral period to four years, with promotion to the rank of senior postdoctoral associate possible after three years. Extension for a fifth year or promotion to research scientist requires a dean’s or VPR approval.

1.3 Visiting Student

Visiting student status is available to qualified students enrolled in a degree program at another university. Normally, such visiting students are engaged in their dissertation research or are writing their dissertations. In addition, federal regulation requires foreign visiting students to show financial support from a university or other institution covering at least half of the cost of their stay in order to be issued a "certificate of eligibility" for the J-1 visa. In other words, more than 50% of funding must come from a source other than personal or family.

Visiting students are not awarded academic credit for courses at MIT and are not eligible for on-campus student housing. Visiting students must be at MIT for at least three weeks and no longer than one year.

1.4 Special Student

Special students receive academic credit for courses taken at MIT. Please note that special students are charged tuition fees. For more information, please visit or

1.5 Exchange Scholar

Students from the following universities: Berkeley, Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Stanford, Yale
can visit as part of an exchange program. More information here.

Please contact Christine Graham if you need help determining the appropriate title for your stay.

2. Requirements

2.1 Funding Requirements for Visiting Scholars

Visitors must meet current funding levels. These are subject to change at any time.

No more than 10% of the total funding can be from personal savings for the primary visitor (i.e. $3500 towards the $35,000 minimum). Additional personal savings may be used to support family members.

Health Insurance

Visitors must have valid health insurance. If you are a J-1 exchange visitor, you must meet the exchange minimums. You can find these minimums at For more information regarding health insurance please visit

2.2 Funding Requirements for Postdoctoral Fellows

MIT’s minimum salary and stipend rates for postdocs are consistent with those set by NIH for the Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) stipends. The 2019 NIH salary scale shown below is the minimum salary required for postdoctoral appointments and is based on years of experience. Years of experience begins after graduation. The fellowship must cover the entire amount, personal funds cannot be used. These amounts may change at any time.

Years of Experience 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 or more
Stipend $50,004 $50,376 $50,760 $52,896 $54,756 $56,880 $59,100 $61,308

Health Insurance

International fellows must meet the J1 health insurance requirements.

We are committed to equalizing the cost of health insurance between postdoc fellows and postdoc associates (those paid by MIT), so that the premiums paid by fellows are not greater than what they would be paying if they were postdoctoral associates. At the time of the initial appointment, we will conduct an evaluation, factoring in any health insurance coverage provided by your fellowship. When the remaining cost to the fellow would exceed that of a postdoctoral associate, our department will provide the difference between the cost to the individual for fellows versus associates. Please visit the Office of the VPR site for information.

Information about MIT's Affiliate Health Plan can be found here.

2.3 Funding Requirements for Visiting Students

Since Visiting Students cannot register for classes for credit, no tuition fee is assessed.

All Visiting Students (both US and international) are responsible for the following fees:

Registration Fee (subject to change at any time):
Fall Term (5 months): $1,500
Spring Term (4 months): $1,200
Summer Term (3 months): $900

Visiting Students are charged for each term regardless of arrival date, e.g. arrival on November 1st requires $1,500 in fees.

Student Activities Fee:
$170 assessed per term (fall and spring only)

International Visiting Students

In order to issue a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (Form DS-2019), international visiting students must demonstrate financial support to meet or exceed the following minimum funding requirements for the entire academic appointment. Also, at least 51% of the total funding must come from a source other than personal or family funds.

Estimated Monthly Expense (september 2019-august 2020):

Single Student
Average Living Expense: $2,935
Student Health Plan Insurance Per Month*: $272
Total Expenses per month: $3,207 + Registration Fee(s)

Married Student
Average Living Expense: $3,635
Student Health Plan Insurance Per Month*: $577
Total Expenses per month: $4,212 + Registration Fee(s)

* Figures are subject to change without notice.
**For family with children is estimated $500/m for the 1st child and $292/m for an additional child.

Health Insurance

Like all students at MIT, a Visiting Student must either purchase the MIT Student Extended Insurance Plan or provide proof that their insurance meets the requirements specified by Federal Regulations for J-1 student visa holders (for international students). MIT Student Health Plan Office requires all Visiting Students insurance to cover preexisting conditions. Visiting Students wishing to purchase the MIT Student Extended Insurance Plan may do so upon arrival on campus. For more information, please visit MIT Medical.

Please email all insurance related questions to (MIT Health Plan Office).


Visiting Students are not entitled to on-campus housing and, in most cases, should plan to find accommodation off-campus. However, they may apply for any vacancies that exist in the dormitories after the needs of regular students have been met.

3. Useful Information

3.1 Housing

As you may have heard, living in Boston can be quite expensive. The quality of accommodations at every price level compares unfavorably with housing in most other communities in the United States. Newcomers are strongly advised to budget carefully and realistically to include the high rents prevalent in this area and surrounding suburbs.

Single family houses usually rent for $2500 - $4000 per month, plus the cost of heat and utilities. Furnished rooms, with or without cooking facilities will range from $700 - $900 per month depending on quality and location.

Estimates for monthly rents of apartments, unfurnished, not including utilities or heating costs are as follows:

one bedroom apartment $1200-$2500
two bedroom apartment $1100-$2900

Unfortunately the department cannot help in your search for housing. For more information regarding housing, please visit MIT's off-campus housing website. (Note: we cannot give you access to the current listings portion of this website.)

3.2 Links

international scholars office

international students office

housing and student life programs

4. How to Apply

Normally, before applying, a prospective visitor should make contact with a faculty member who agrees to sponsor the visitor. A list of the faculty and their contact information can be found at:

Visiting Scholar/Postdoctoral Fellow applications should be submitted at least four months in advance of your anticipated start date.

Visiting Student applications should be submitted at least four months in advance of your anticipated start date. N.B. Early Visiting Student applications are more likely to be accepted.

To apply as for a visitor position, you must submit the following information:

1. Statement of Purpose
    Please include the exact beginning and end dates of your visit and the faculty member you would like to work with during your stay.
2. CV
3. Writing Sample
4. 2-3 letters of recommendation

Please send the application by email to Chrissy Graham (, or by regular mail at:

chrissy graham
department of linguistics and philosophy
massachusetts institute of technology
77 massachusetts avenue, 32-d808
cambridge, ma 02139-4307


MIT philosophy
updated: 10-may-19